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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-05-12 11:03 AM
Original message
The evolution of the American worker...


My labor experiences began in the 1960's. Before I was drafted into Uncle Sam's Army at the age of 19, I worked at a meat-packing plant in Detroit, Michigan. It was hard labor for a 135 lb youngster. But, with overtime, I made pretty good money.

However, I never felt like my life was, in any way, tied to that employer. I could leave anytime I wanted. There was always another job around the corner. If I felt I was slighted in any way, it was adios. I would go someplace else to work. After all, it was not General Motors or Cadillac with their great benefits...

But somewhere along the line, the workplace changed. Young people became more insecure. They were uncertain about whether they could find another job? Employers were holding all the cards.

It seems to me that this change happened sometime around the Presidency of Ronald Reagan? If you had a job, you better keep it, because you may not find another. This mindset became very detrimental to workers, in my opinion. They sacrificed whatever power they had as workers, when they gave up their right to walk away from their jobs.

It was not coincidental that the unions declined during this timeframe. It seemed to me that young workers became more business-oriented. They accepted the business model over the workers model. They were more willing to accept the rules as put forth by their employers. They were more capitalistic in nature, in my opinion.

It seemed that more and more young people wanted business degrees and became more conservative in economic matters, even as many became more liberal in their social beliefs. Of course, this is just my perspective, but even today, whatever management says is seldom questioned. I can recall when youngsters would rebel. I'm sure others have a different perspective?

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AndyTiedye Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-05-12 05:29 PM
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1. Offshoring and H1Bs Might Have Something to Do With It
The government provides tax incentives to throw Americans out of work and move jobs overseas. Protectionism in reverse.
The provision could not be repealed even in 2009 due to Republican filibusters.
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lbrtbell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-05-12 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
2. As a Gen X'er, I can offer some insight
It's not that we, as young workers, behaved like sheep and accepted the system as it was.

We simply knew that we were getting screwed over, and that the only people who would take care of us in the future were ourselves. We knew (and still do) that Social Security would be ravaged by the politicians and the onslaught of aging boomers.

The reason we never questioned management is simple: We knew that they were liars and cheats. Why waste your breath asking questions, when you'll never get the truth? It's better just to do what you can to prepare yourself for the future, whether it's investing, starting your own business, or whatever. Take the money and run.

The difference between boomers and X'ers is simple. Boomers were so used to growing up in a good economy, that they naively believed nothing would change. They believed they would be forever young, forever the ones determining the direction of society, never dreaming that they would one day be cast aside and disregarded...the way they used to disregard "anybody over 30."

We, on the other hand, grew up in a far different society. We were the latchkey kids, the ones who went to college only to find ourselves in debt for student loans, while no jobs were available. (Similar to what today's young people face.) Our generation came of age when AIDS was still a scary mystery--no "free love" for you, kids! In other words, we never had the security that boomers enjoyed, in any aspect of our lives. We were disparaged and cast aside by our elders, so we knew damned well we could never trust them.

That's why we aren't surprised at what's happening today. Because we saw it coming way back when Cowboy Ronnie was in the Oval Office. The boomers are finally waking up to something we've understood for roughly 30 years. Welcome to Economic Disaster, population all of us.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-12 02:20 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Given that you have mentioned you are physically disabled, it is
Edited on Sun May-06-12 02:21 AM by No Elephants
very impressive that you don't have to rely on Social Security or SSI.
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kentuck Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-12 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Good points.
It is a lot different now.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-06-12 02:42 AM
Response to Original message
4. The flight of corporations to right to work states and also overseas explains
a lot about a lot of things.


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